Velcom Virtualizes Core Network on Path to 5G

In this video we learn how Velcom partnered with Intel to virutalize its core network in order to develop and roll out new services to customers faster.

5G will introduce a plethora of new services, not only in the communications domain, but also in the IOT domain. Correspondingly we expect way more services than we have today with way more flexibility. This kind of flexibility can no longer be handled with the current systems.

We need virtualization and the flexibility which NFV brings. Velcom is the leading mobile operator in Belarus. It is a 100 percent daughter of Telekom Austria Group.

The network was based mainly on legacy and the cost factor was one of the drivers. It was important to make us ready for 4G and, down the road, for 5G. The platform should help us to develop new services faster than any time before.

We virtualized all our core network functionalities of our existing network, plus the upcoming features for LTE functionalities, and made us ready for 5G. The setup of the project enabled us to deliver this full transformation in just nine months and the transformation from the subscriber database in four months. Through the whole time we had not a single customer impact. Amazing!

Nine months for transforming the entire network we have never seen before. I don't know any other operator who has done that in that timeframe.

This short time was only possible by selecting the right partner. With ZTE we have done a perfect fit with our ideas and our concept.

By virtualizing our full core network we cut our TCO by more than 50 percent. This virtualized network is creating a lot of opportunities to grow faster, to introduce new services for our customers. One example was narrowband IoT for us. We have already put it onto our commercialized core network.

On a legacy network it took us a year or two to introduce major new services. Today we are doing this in a few weeks, with all the tests.

Network function virtualization is based on standard commercial off-the-shelf servers which run Intel® Xeon® processors. We use the Intel® Xeon® processor because we want to benefit from the economies of scale and also from the evolution which is happening in this market.

We have seen in the past that there is a regular price performance improvement and we want to benefit from that also in the future.

Additionally it allows us to easily scale out, simply putting another equal hardware next to the existing hardware in order to increase the processing power.

In former times with legacy equipment there was always integration necessary. This essentially evaporates - goes away.

Additionally, Intel did a very good job in developing DPDK, the Data Plane Development Kit, without which the high throughput which we telecom providers rely upon would not be possible.

Intel was very supportive when we started with network function virtualization in educating us, also our teams, and helping us with the technology and moving us forward.

We are also using Intel® Network Builders University.

Since Intel pointed that out to us we have actually educated our employees to go there and watch the detailed expertise webinars which are available there in order to educate themselves deeper in virtualization technologies.

The new technology is helping us to focus on flexibility, reliability and security - and this is in favor of our customer.

The results which Velcom has achieved were fantastic from the Telekom Austria Group point of view. In particular, we also now have a positive proof point that what our strategy has laid out actually works.